"Mystic Deception" By Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens: Review/Giveaway

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of this book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Mystic Isle, My Favorite Destination!

Visitors head out into the Louisiana bayou taking a short ferry ride from the Big Easy across Ol’ Man River. Their destination is The Mansion at Mystic Isle, a renovated plantation jewel catering to those passionate about the paranormal, supernatural, and all things just plain creepy. Handed down through his family, Harry Villars put all he had into making this a popular tourist spot with help from general manager/Yankee Jack Stockton and a quirky cast of soothsayers, entertainers, and artisians ensuring a very realistic experience. Guests can get their fortune told, an astrological chart designed, a love potion concocted, attend a dramatic séance, or have the opportunity to go beyond photos and postcards with a permanent reminder of their adventure...a tattoo. It's also where one could dress up in their best Harry Potter robes and not feel out of place!

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Melanie Hamilton is the Dragons and Deities Tattoo Parlor artist, but with a recent rash of suspicious deaths and her part in successful resolutions, she's been dubbed the local "shamus." Now boyfriend "Cap'n" Jack, BFF/tarot reader Cat Boudreaux and her now husband Deputy Quincy Boudreaux along with other quirky inhabitants of the Isle lend the necessary support and expertise when bodies start piling up on Mystic Isle. In Mystic Mayhem (2015), a séance goes awry when the wealthy widow hoping to get answers from her late husband winds up dead. In Mystic Mojo (Killer Beach Reads 2015), a Summer Jazz festival highlights a haunted piano and...murder! In Mystic Mistletoe Murder (2016), it is a festive Christmas until Papa Noël is murdered. In Mystic Mischief (2017), pirate treasure mania includes a dead body, of course! Entertaining. Clever. Must read.
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Mystic Deception earns 5/5 Magical Stunts...Clever and Totally Entertaining!

What a coup! Harry and Jack were able to get the Federation of Magicians to hold their annual Ultimate Art of Magic competition at The Mansion at Mystic Isle. Illusionists, prestidigitators, mentalists, and old-school magicians perform their best "illusion," and judges evaluate performances to reach a "Final Four." From swords, magic doves, mind reading, and recreations of Houdini's best, the judges were in for edge-of-your-seat entertainment! However, since the winner receives a headliner deal in Vegas and a six-figure prize, competition is tough and prima-donna antics are hard to avoid. Case in point...Derek King! His snarky criticisms, inflated ego, professional threats, and personal harassment put him at the top of Karma's to-do list! But, when he ends up dead in Houdini's Chinese Water Torture Tank, the mild-mannered friend, employee, Mel's roommate's boyfriend, and amateur illusionist is the prime suspect. Well, of course, it's his apparatus, it's his fiancé Derek hit on, and it's he who got into a major tussle with the victim! Case closed? Not so fast...Mel has her own magic to perform as a successful shamus.

The writing duo of Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens is my all-time favorite, and this series is one I'm always eager to read! Together they have created a marvelous location in the middle of the bayou ripe for mayhem and murder, and a plethora of endearing and quirky characters. This well-written story is filled with Southern flair, cheeky characters, humorous foibles, and of course, a clever cozy murder mystery that always heralds a nice karmic bite! I love the first-person narrative sharing Melanie's perspective, inner thoughts along with vivid descriptions tantalizing your senses. The dialogue has fun snark, and does well to illustrate personality, and the side stories highlighting the personal interactions and dynamics between Mel and Jack, Mel and Lucy, Mel and Cat...make this a favorite series. Newbies can start here, of course, but beware...you'll be as hooked as I am!

Sally and Jean always include in their books in the Mystic Isle series with a delightful “lagniappe," something given as an extra gift. Show off your culinary magic with an easy-to-follow recipe from Chef Valentine Cantrall’s kitchen: Valentine's Oysters Bienville including a few dashes of Louisiana hot sauce. "Yum! Laissez les bon temps rouler."

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To enter to win an ebook copy of Mystic Deception, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "mystic,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 29, 2019. If entering via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up next week!

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I wouldn't mind going to Mystic Isle myself!

  2. sounds like a great read! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

  3. New to me series. Can’t wait to start it

  4. Sounds intriguing. Legallyblonde1961 at yahoo dot com

  5. I enjoy reading books set in New Orleans. Adding to my TBR list.

  6. I just signed up for the newsletter and can't decide which book to read first!

  7. Awesome and how fun this sounds...love ebooks too...
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com


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